BOSTON Massachusetts voters weary from one of the nation's costliest and most divisive U.S. Senate races are all but certain to find themselves thrown back into another tumultuous election now that President Barack Obama has nominated Sen. John Kerry for secretary of state.
If confirmed by the Senate, as expected, Democrat Kerry would have to resign the seat he's held for nearly three decades, meaning a special election that will be the state's third Senate contest since 2010.
Jockeying already is well under way. The big question is whether Republican Sen. Scott Brown will go for the seat after losing his last month to Democratic Elizabeth Warren.
Should Brown opt out, former Gov. William Weld, former gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker and Richard Tisei, who lost a narrow race to Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney, are among the Republicans waiting in the wings for a possible run.
Democrats don't have a clear front-runner, given that Gov. Deval Patrick doesn't plan to break his pledge to serve out the last two years of his term.
Several Democratic members of the state's congressional delegation have said they would seriously consider running, including Reps. Michael Capuano, Edward Markey, Stephen Lynch, and Niki Tsongas. Most of those House members would begin a campaign with a financial edge. Markey has one of the largest war chests with more than $3.1 million. Capuano has nearly half a million dollars in his account while Lynch has more than $740,000. Tsongas has about $166,000.
Others mentioned by Democratic insiders as potential candidates are U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and Ted Kennedy Jr., a son of the late senator, an advocate for the disabled and co-founder of the New York-based Marwood Group, which describes itself as "a health care-focused strategic advisory and financial services firm."
If there is a special election, whoever wins shouldn't get too comfortable. The senator will face re-election in 2014, when Massachusetts voters will endure yet another Senate election.